The First Presidency message for this month is on Gratitude. Perfect since we all have a lot to be grateful for considering Christmas and commemorating the birth of the Savior. At the end of the article is a challenge to write down 100 things for which I am grateful. I did this exercise before in my journal, but it was years ago and I think took weeks for me to accomplish, just jotting down grateful thoughts as they came to me.
I will take on this challenge again. I know it will increase my happiness and help me see how I can use the blessings I have been given to better serve others.
Part I: Ten Physical Abilities for which I am grateful
1. Being allergy-free. I thought of this one last night when I caught a whiff of dust in the air and remembered my husband is severely allergic to dust. Poor guy gets painfully swollen sinuses and congestion while I don't get bothered at all. I need to be more consistent to wash the bedsheets weekly in hot water to help alleviate his allergies. Also recently I found out a few little boys I know are deathly allergic to nuts. How I would miss eating nuts! So I'm just extra thankful to have no allergies that I can think of.
2. Bearing children. It was an exhilarating, sacred experience to feel life growing in me when pregnant with Lo. It was also wonderful to feel the sensations of the birthing time--discomfort included, I'm not kidding! I felt absolutely alive and empowered by the whole deal. And I know not every woman gets that blessing in this life, so I am grateful it came to me.
3. Sight. I have a few close family members with visual impairment, so I have seen first-hand their challenges. I have independence, joys, and ease in life because of my vision. And to think I sometimes complain about having to wear glasses/contacts. In this moment I am just grateful to have access to such tools to enhance my sight when there are some who never get to wear a pair of glasses though they may need it all their lives!
4. Hearing. Yesterday I heard church bells chiming carols. It lifted my heart.
5. Hands. I have fun learning ASL with Lo. And how many other things my hands can do! Picking up my child, stirring dinner on the stove, all the every-day tasks that I often take for granted.
6. Walking. I walk a lot of places, including grocery shopping on a regular basis since Jerry and I share a car. This past week we vacationed in Toronto and got to walk all around that exciting city. Jerry kept wanting to ride the street cars, but I preferred walking.
7. Eating. Yes, this is an ability. I have always enjoyed food. One little boy in our nursery class consumes his calories through a stomach tube, and I have noticed his parents call it "feeding time," rather than "eating time." I am grateful to be among those who can eat.
8. Smiling. Sometimes Jerry and I joke about our smiles. "What if I really smiled like this," Jerry would ask, pulling a goofy face. "Would you still have married me?" We laugh, but really there ARE people who either cannot smile or who choose not to smile or some people who just don't like their smiles. But I am grateful to be able to smile and be truly happy about that toothy part of my face.
9. Talking. I lost my voice over the past week due to some type of cold/respiratory illness. There were some moments that I desperately wanted to speak, even just to comment on Lo's antics, let alone communicate basic needs or wishes. But I could only whisper or make hand motions. Now that my voice is returning (albeit scratchy still) I am conscious of the glory of speaking out loud. It is so helpful in connecting with other people.
10. Sleep. I have suffered from chronic insomnia, so the nights when I sleep without problem are something to cherish. Last night I slept 6 hours straight before I had to wake up to go to the bathroom, and it is amazing how refreshed I felt after that kind of stretch. =) Granted, I could not get myself to fall back asleep again after getting up for that bathroom run, but we'll focus on the positive here. I am pretty talented at being able to nap during the day with Lo when I ever need it.
So there we go! 10 things I am grateful for. I'll do this project in installments over the next month or so.